updated 3/27/2012 3:06:43 PM ET 2012-03-27T19:06:43

Brazil has taken on more than 2,000 websites that promote Latin America's biggest country as a sex tourism destination, the Tourism Ministry said Tuesday.

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In 2011, the ministry identified 2,169 websites with photos of women in sensual poses and invitations for sexual encounters with minors, the ministry said in a Tuesday statement. Many of the sites were hosted in the United States.

The ministry said that 1,100 of the websites have eliminated their sex-oriented content and that it was trying to convince the remaining sites to do the same.

Tackling the websites is part of an ongoing campaign to combat the sexual exploitation of minors during the 2014 World Cup.

Early last year, Brazil started distributing posters and ads warning that sexual exploitation of minors is a crime. They were distributed in countries from where most tourists to Brazil come from — the United States, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Spain.

"The exploitation of sex is a crime and those responsible for it must be punished," Tourism Minister Gastao Vieira said in the Tuesday statement.

He said the ministry's campaign that focused on Brazil's "natural beauties, cultural diversity and friendly people" helped attract more than 5 million foreign tourists in 2011.

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